Belews Creek Steam Station

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Belews Creek Steam Station is an operating power station of at least 2160-megawatts (MW) in Walnut Cove, Stokes, North Carolina, United States.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Belews Creek Steam Station Walnut Cove, Stokes, North Carolina, United States 36.2825, -80.058547 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2: 36.2825, -80.058547

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - bituminous 1080 supercritical 1974 2035[1]
Unit 2 operating coal - bituminous 1080 supercritical 1975 2035[1]

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Duke Energy Carolinas LLC [100.0%]
Unit 2 Duke Energy Carolinas LLC [100.0%]

Retirement discussions

In its 2020 Integrated Resource Plan's base case scenario, Duke used a 2039 retirement year for the plant (this was not a commitment to retire the coal plant and simply dates for planning purposes).[2] Under the plan, Duke would reportedly retire all of its power plants in the Carolinas that "rely exclusively on coal" within the next 10 years and add between 1,050 MW and 7,400 MW of storage to its portfolio under six scenarios outlined.[3]

In its 2023 Carolinas Resource Plan, Duke projected that the power station would retire by the end of 2035.[4]

Gas-Fired Generation

In 2020 and 2021, natural gas was added to the station to allow up to 50% natural gas co-firing on both units. Co-firing allows the units to produce energy using either coal or natural gas, or a combination of these fuels[5]. As of June 2023, Duke Energy is evaluating the option of expanding gas co-firing beyond the current 50% at Units 1 and 2 after coal units retirement in 2036[6].

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 14,034,728 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 95,290 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 21,179 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 475 lb.

Coal Waste Site

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Belews Creek

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[7] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[8]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Belews Creek Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 100 $750,000,000
Heart attacks 160 $17,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,700 $88,000
Hospital admissions 76 $1,800,000
Chronic bronchitis 63 $28,000,000
Asthma ER visits 88 $33,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment

Belews Creek Steam Station's Active Ash Pond surface impoundment is on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[9]

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2024. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "Duke’s $3 Billion Secret," Sierra Club, March 29, 2021
  3. "Duke Energy considers retiring 9,000 MW of coal, adding vast amounts of storage," S&P Global, September 29, 2020
  4. "2023 Carolinas Resource Plan," Duke Energy, August 2023
  5. "Belews Creek Steam Station". Duke Energy. Retrieved June 5, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "State of North Carolina Utilities Commission Raleigh". North Carolina Utilities Commission. Retrieved June 5, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  8. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  9. Coal waste

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.